Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

Frustration about iD editor's inability to easily draw rectangular buildings

Posted by Polyglot on 15 December 2017 in English (English)

This tweet inspired me to write a new diary entry.

BHousel does not like the criticism he's been getting for several years now.

Drawing rectangular buildings using the iD editor is a lot harder than it ought to be.

My opinion is that if you create a tool that is going to be used by thousands of mappers, you owe it to your users to make sure that they can produce quality work with ease. Especially if the effort to do so would outweigh by an enormous ratio the frustration shoddy work creates for HOT's validators (and (re)mappers using that other mapping tool), who need to put more time into fixing the mess, than they would have actually mapping those buildings themselves in the first place. It's not like the science of creating a rectangle based on adding 3 points using 3 clicks still needs to be invented.

This is an ongoing problem for many years. So either it gets fixed one day, or frustrated messages will happen to escape, every once in a while. Or they will get muffled and HOT validators will continue to silently give up on trying to fix the deluge of poorly mapped buildings. Or you can simply unsubscribe from HOT's Twitter feed. Whatever works for you.

A more constructive solution would be to invite other programmers into the project. I can't imagine there wouldn't be candidates.

Here's hoping that something good can come out of this.


Being a mapper in a slow Internet connection country (SAS.Planet + MBTiles Plugin in JOSM)

Posted by Kampar on 15 December 2017 in English (English)

Well, I should be proud of living in a country where its internet connections were sucks. Updating JOSM plugins and imagery tiles are nightmare!

But, I eventually found a better way to tackle this awesomeness, with downloading all necessary imagery tiles with SAS.Planet, exporting those tiles into single MBTiles file, then, load those mbtiles file into JOSM with MBTiles plugin.

Cheer from KAMPAR Regency, Riau Province, Indonesia,

Location: Villa Selecta Mas, Simpang Baru, Riau, 28293, Indonesia

Camp Smith, Peekskill, New York

Posted by ke9tv on 14 December 2017 in English (English)

I've been trying to get public land boundaries in New York State tidied to where trail maps will show reasonable results for the parks and forests.

One problem that was recently called to my attention was Camp Smith in Peekskill, New York. Researching this area revealed rather a complex history, and I thought that I had better write this diary entry to explain what I did, since it doesn't quite agree with any of the 'authoritative' data sources.

Camp Smith, purchased by New York State between 1923 and 1940, is a National Guard post, and as such, is State land rather than Federal. The Hudson Highlands State Park that borders it is also, of course, State land, and in fact, portions along the north of Camp Smith had been carved out of it historically to create a corridor for the Appalachian Trail.

On that state land, a trail from the Bear Mountain Bridge to the summit of Anthony's Nose has existed for a very long time. I know that I visited Anthony's Nose as a Boy Scout in the late 1960's. Since at least 1993, there has been a trail open to the public that takes a strenuous course from there southeast along the cliffs, with many fine view overlooking the river. Everyone understood it at the time to be a way along which public access was granted, that traversed the grounds of Camp Smith.

In 2001, the political climate of the time forced Camp Smith to post its borders as being closed to the public. The recreational opportunities were restored in 2002 (at the same time as the historic site was created for the old Bear Mountain toll house) by changing the land management. The Hudson Highlands State Park was expanded to 50 feet northeast of the trail center line, and all of the land between there and the rail grade on the riverbank came under the management of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The flyer that is given out at the trailhead details this situation, and warns hikers that they may encounter the occasional patrol of Guardsmen, to whom they should give way.

Since this move was, in effect, a transfer of land from New York State to itself, there was very little formal record of it, and the official maps all still show the old boundaries. In many cases, owing to database incompatibilities among the state agencies, even the official maps are full of gaps and overlaps at the border between the two reservations.

It seemed important to me to indicate that the trail on the cliff top is open to the public, not subject to the restrictions of the military post. I therefore adjusted the boundaries of the military reservation as follows, and conflated them with the boundaries of the state park:

  1. A line fifty feet from the trail was created using the 'buffer' function of GDAL, and became the boundary wherever it penetrated into former Camp Smith lands.

  2. The (otherwise questionable) import of Camp Smith from a Federal database was retained. Where it was adjacent to roads, it aligned well to the road network and to aerial images. In the woods, the borders are indefinite in any case. The Westchester County portion of Hudson Highlands had originally been reconstructed from county tax data, which were recognized to have problems with alignment, partly due to mixed datums.

  3. Anywhere that Camp Smith and Hudson Highlands were coterminous, their joint border was replaced with a shared way.

This is pretty close, I think, to the situation that exists in the field. Indefinite borders are always a bit of a headache, but this change should at least clarify that the hiking trail is open to the public.

Mapping party at Wayanad

Posted by Hemantcompiler on 13 December 2017 in English (English)

This is the first time I went on a mapping party and that too to Wayanad. I didn't know much before about what a mapping party is, but I looked up on the internet and realized that we will be learning how to map areas on Openstreetmap and will meet the community and the people contributing to it. Actually if any type of event is happening in Wayanad, you can be assured that you will have a good time. Its such a beautiful place, you cannot miss the chance to at least see it once :)

I asked Praveen sir about how to reach there and we decided to go from KSRTC bus stand from Calicut. The journey from Calicut to sulthan bathery was just mesmerizing, I witnessed the beautiful sunset in the hills from the bus. I was just hoping that the bus get some malfunction and stop there so that I can look at it for a little longer. And you can even see pineapple farms there, they were just beautiful. There were even people selling pineapples on the road sides. I wonder how fresh the pineapples were, its like you can ask them to pluck a fresh pineapple for you!

Also being an open source software user and supporter, to discuss what all is happening in the world is just awesome, It was like feeding your soul. And since we are talking about feeding, the food there has just another level of awesomeness. At first I was reluctant to try the food as I wasn't sure what it is made up of. Then I tried puttu, and it had no taste, and then they told me that the taste of that depends on the curry. So you better have a good curry!! Puttu mixed with curry tastes delicious, it's just that I wasn't able to find the right curry :) A tomato curry would have been the one, I will try that next time. If you are a dosa fan but not much of a fan of potato, then let me tell, there is a thing called "ghee roast dosa", you should definitely try that and even better is appam. The only thing that I didn't try was idiyappam and I still think that I should have tried that. I missed the opportunity :)

The discussion on the dining table was about all the things going on in the technology world, I was happy that I wasn't the only one reading about those things. We talked about all the cryptocurrencies, payment gateway of telegram, then out of nowhere elon musk came in (Boring company, tesla and spacex), and then the MINIX OS. Then sombody probably Joice mentioned Abish Mathew, and NOBODY knew who he was and there ended one branch of the conversation :). Apparantely elon musk is more of a concern than Abish :)

Apart from that we mapped many parts of the sulthan bathery town. We got divided in a group of two each and started mapping on our own. The best thing about mapping is that you will know each and every path you mapped (Try creating a mind castle out of that !), next time when you go there. The first application that Sruthi mam suggested was Vespucci. It's a nice application and it reduces your work a lot, you can directly upload the data as you map. The first day I mapped with Vespucci only. Later in the evening I realised that Kannan and Ambadi were mapping with OSMTracker and the cool thing about that is you can actually see the trail that you went through on the map. I liked OSMTracker and the next day I used that only. We specifically went through some of the less travelled paths and as Kannan told me, we were able to create new paths on the map. Although that path won't be named after us but still good to know that we added it on the map and that information might help someone some day.

Just to travel the paths less travelled we went through the roads in the fields and there I realised that kerala fields are very diverse, you can literally grow anything here let it be banana, coconuts, pineapples, coffee, tea and lot of other things that even Kannan didn't know the names of and mind you that Kannan is from kerala :) The next day was to say goodbye to all, we went on our separate ways, and even on our way back we visted Pookode Lake. Although it is a great place but we found the parking the "Hard way" :) And probably somebody would have mapped it now (Ambadi?), so you won't have any problem finding it.

And now whenever I am bored I start OSMTracker and just go by some weird routes and map it and share it with my friends so that they can also try that route :) Waiting for the next meetup :)

Location: Gudalur-Sultan Bathery Rd, Sulthan Bathery, Wayanad, Kerala, 673592, India

Could you classify Landuse correctly? Do it

Posted by grass_and_green on 13 December 2017 in English (English)

Dear All,

I have to apologize for that the study link was broken for couple of days. Bugs are already fixed and the study is work well waiting for your contributions. Please, use study to help science. Our research focuses on YOU (OSM users) and contributors. Participate in the study to see how perfect you are in recognizing landuse areas.

Pirate Open Street Mapping Party Wayanad

Posted by Joicemj on 11 December 2017 in English (English)

It was fun mapping Wayanad. A district known for its environment, ethnic people, sensitive areas, Hills, Forests and of course Rain.

For the very first time, J4v4m4n, Pirate Praveen suggested the idea of pirate mapping parties. To be exact, 5 months before, he started a new thread on Loomio as a proposal to contributing to open street maps as [Pirates]( Later the discussion lead to mapping parties around Kerala. When Praveen completed Kannur, I asked him for one here in Wayanad. Exactly a week before 9th of this month, Praveen told me, we can host on 9th. I got excited as well as nervous. I don't know what to do, How to arrange accommodation, where to map, etc. I was really worried about bicycles. I thought cycles could speed up the mapping process. Another headache was whom will help us in mapping. Tada.. Ranjith Siji, Mujeeb, Kannan, Ambadi, Tanzeer, Sruthi, Hemanth came up to fulfill our plans.

Next to resolve was accommodation. Sreejith Koiloth helped us to rent DIET hostel.

Into the real fun

Sruthi, Praveen and Hemanth reached Bathery on 8th. Had dinner from Aravind Mess House. And then headed to DIET hostel. We made some plans for the next day. Discussed a lot of things too. On 9th December of 2017, by 8'O clock, Ranjith Siji, Mujeeb, Kannan and Ambadi reached. I picked Tanzeem and we met everybody at NRS bakery, Sulthan Bathery.

As planned earlier, unto noon, we mapped Sulthan Bathery. we grouped by 2. Me, Tanzeem and Praveen became a group. Ambadi and Mujeeb became next, Sruthi and Hemanth, Ranjith and Kannan and so on. By 12.30, We covered Almost bathery. After that we sat on a bench and discussed about the progress. Kannan came up with a digital SLR camera. He made couple of beautiful snaps. ( He haven't yet shared any of them. I will update whenever I recieve them)

Next was fooding time. We came back to NRS, Had food. I think me, Praveen and Tanzeem ordered regular rice. Kannnan is a different character. After watching Food Inc, He became kind of insane. He stopped having non-vegitarian. I wonder a documentary is having this much impact! He had a little salad. Sruthi too!! She joined Kannan's league. I love to have discussions. I am feeling like organizing and participating these such events opens a wide door for dialoges. We discussed about rural network connectivity, intel-minix prob, Food Inc, global warming, cattles and global warming etc. Ambadi was arguing for cattles as major cause for global warming. yea, It was lot of fun. On that table, we discussed about afternoon session. Again we grouped by two and started mapping. Praveen, Tanzeem, Sruthi, Mujeeb, Hemanth headed to Kalpetta. Somebody mapped Meenangadi, some Muttil and people left mapped Kalpetta. they reached back by 7 in the evening. I felt happy that, me and ranjith siji joined as a group and mapped a long area. We went by bike. Center For Social Computing offered a motor cycle and we headed to Pulpally. I personally got thrilled when we added a new road to the map. I told him different myths about wayanad, The origin of Sulthan Bathery's name, people etc. in shorts, we discussed our thoughts on food culture, wikidata, wiki commons, economy, economics, My AI Fear etc. We reached Nadavayal to have Kappa Biriyani. We headed to Varkey's Hotel. Kappa biriyani was not that good. but not bad. Anyway, Ranjith didn't like it much.

10th was the last day of mapping. I was home. I had some engagements. So I directed them to head towards Muthanga. But for the fate, time was over. They mapped something else. Then we planned to map Panamaram. I reached panamaram. By noon, They also reached there. Had some food from MAH hotel. Then ranjith took some photos of river and bridge etc. by 3'O clock, everybody except me and Tanzeem left for home. Then Tanzeem and me covered Panamaram. By 5.30 PM, Mapping party officially finished.

Location: Sulthan Bathery, Wayanad, Kerala, 673592, India

"OSM go" - Impressions

Posted by -karlos- on 11 December 2017 in English (English)

OSMF should vote more often......

Posted by SunCobalt on 11 December 2017 in English (English) it attracts people to join the OSMF (on average)


New week and new energy required

Posted by grass_and_green on 11 December 2017 in English (English)

Dear Folks,

As the year is counting down and ice is in most of the places. Please, use our study to generate more energy in your brain and consequently your entire body. Participate in the study to see how perfect you are in recognizing landuse areas.

SMART/DDOT overhaul

Posted by NixillUmbreon on 11 December 2017 in English (English)


As I write this, a complete overhaul to SMART/DDOT relations is being uploaded to the server. I did this for two reasons.

Reason the first:

When I last "overhauled" SMART relations, I admittedly made a huge mess of things. There were two reasons I did this:

  1. I thought it'd look nice on the transit map with each route number getting rendered just once per road.
  2. I didn't want to have to add the bus stops to all the relations and risk forgetting some.

So what I did was made route segments and route segment segments.

I apologize for that, now realizing that it's wrong. Plus, the second point above is invalid, as I've since discovered; I can edit multiple relations simultaneously.

The first reason for this overhaul is to fix that.

Reason the second:

Data for both systems was horribly outdated. For example, there were still bus routes depicted on Woodward south of Campus Martius, which hasn't been the case since the QLine construction started. The DDOT relations still used the old public transit format! So the second reason for this overhaul is a data update.


There are a lot of bus routes I haven't ridden:

  • Almost all DDOT routes outside of Downtown
  • SMART routes 160, 280, 445, 475

For these routes, I've put my best effort to mapping them accurately, though in some places I simply could not tell where the route was intended to go (see: 38 at Harrison, Sears, or Outer Drive).


Official bus schedules and maps can be found at DDOT, SMART, and RTA. Additionally, for the RTA and SMART routes, some details not shown on the maps were mapped from personal experience.

For some DDOT routes where I couldn't tell what was what on the map, I followed roads that were part of the pre-existing relations.

I also used a bit of OpenStreetCam data to figure out which way buses went around loops.

Lastly, DDOT's GTFS file is public-domain, and helped me figure out a couple things as well. It can be downloaded here.

What's next

I'm going to take a short break, then in 2018 ride all the SMART routes and record out the bus windows and put the videos on YouTube. I'll license the videos for free use for open-source mapping projects - anything you see or hear on the video will be fair game to add to the map.

I personally will use the videos to map bus stops, and add them to back the relations.

2017 Board Election Statistics

Posted by Tordanik on 10 December 2017 in English (English)

The anonymized ballots from yesterday's OSMF board vote are available as a handy text file on OpaVote, so I decided to play around with them a bit. Here's a breakdown of the rankings for each candidate:

Heather Leson (1: 179, 2: 67, 3: 45, 4: 71, 0: 127), Joost Schouppe (1: 118, 2: 223, 3: 66, 4: 34, 0: 48), Paul Norman (1: 129, 2: 105, 3: 54, 4: 50, 0: 151), David Dean (1: 52, 2: 62, 3: 168, 4: 64, 0: 143)

I was also curious if people usually filled in the maximum of four slots, or left some of them blank. This is the result:

  • 0 candidates: 11
  • 1 candidates: 21
  • 2 candidates: 124
  • 3 candidates: 114
  • 4 candidates: 219

So most people did indeed list 3 or 4 candidates! With STV, the third place can matter even if there are only two seats available, so it makes sense to fill it in. Nevertheless, I also looked more closely at the top two spots to see if there are any interesting correlations. Based on all ballots with at least 2 candidates, here's the popularity of top two pairings (the order of candidate names carries no meaning):

  • Heather/Joost: 166
  • Paul/Joost: 136
  • Paul/David: 46
  • Heather/Paul: 43
  • Joost/David: 33
  • Heather/David: 33

If there are any other statistics you're curious about, feel free to ask – if I find the time, I'll be glad to run them. :)

Location: Hofbauerngut, Hals, Passau, Lower Bavaria, Bavaria, 94034, Germany

Thank you, now on with the next steps

Posted by Heather Leson on 10 December 2017 in English (English)

Thank you to all the OSMF members, fellow candidates, board, and outgoing board members. It has been a privilege to consider your priorities for OSMF via questions, notes, and conversations.

We are the community, the map, and the project. The lovely people who make OSM part of their daily flows count on all of us at OSMF to meet the full mandate and the full potential. This means considering, then building on how we might balance the growing, changing needs of the open, global, diverse community.

Over the past few weeks, the questions on the wiki and the conversations on this mailing list have pointed to some potential actions. Converting those requests and ideas into productive working documents for consultation is the next step. There are many people on this list and in the wider community that will contribute if there are healthy spaces and a clear ask. It is up to us in the membership, in the working groups, and on the board to make this possible.

Thank you again,


The history of HOT US Inc governance - not to be replicated in OSMF

Posted by sev_osm on 10 December 2017 in English (English)

(EN automatic translation below)

Durant la campagne pour les élections 2017 au board de l'OSM, je suis intervenu par trois fois sur la liste de discussion OSMF :

  • ce premier courriel en anglais dans lequel je montre la faible implication de Heather Leson dans OSM depuis 2011.

  • ce deuxième courriel intitulé " Language, tone and their explanations - why I resigned from HOT US Inc", rédigé en français et traduit en anglais, pour expliquer le ton employé dans le premier via notamment ma lettre de résignation de HOT US Inc en 2016, que j'ai publié dans mon précédent billet de blog

  • ce troisième courriel intitulé "The history of HOT US Inc governance - not to be replicated in OSMF" qui contient le lien vers un document, lui aussi rédigé en français et traduit en anglais, retraçant les graves soucis de gouvernance dans le board de HOT US Inc pendant la période durant laquelle j'en étais membre (mars 2014 à janvier 2016)

During the campaign for the 2017 elections on the board of the OSM, I spoke three times on the OSMF mailing list:

  • this first email in English in which I show the weak involvement of Heather Leson in OSM since 2011.

  • this second email titled "Language, tone and their explanations - why I resigned from HOT US Inc." written in French and translated into English, to explain the tone used in the first via including my letter of resignation of HOT US Inc in 2016, which I published in my [previous blog post] (https: //

  • this third email titled "The History of HOT US Inc Governance - not to be replicated in OSMF" which contains the link to a document, also written in French and translated into English, tracing the serious governance concerns in the board of HOT US Inc during the period during which I was a member (March 2014 to January 2016)

Dynamic manipulation of styles based on object values in libosmscout

Posted by Framstag on 9 December 2017 in English (English)

As just stated on the Fossgis Hackingweekend at the Linuxhotel in Essen... "I'm mapping the year of constrcution for a (huge) number of houses. I'm looking for a way to visualize this on the map".

Likely multiple solutions exist, but how to do this with libosmscout?

At the start of the weekend this was not yet possible. Small discussion with another developer (not at the weekend) showed, that a general approach was needed, as colouring of ways based on attributes has also interesting use cases (hint: colour of metro lines).

Libosmscout implements tag and value combinations as features. All possible features of an object type (configurable during import) are flag in a bit set, if an concrete object has the feature.

The value of an feature is implemented as simple class that must offer serialization and deserialization methods.

So first we write a new Feature implementation that parses the start_date and year_of_construction tags. The new Feature will have two int attribute for the start and end year. Investigation of the actual tag values show and creation time can be an time interval, for our needs the year however is enough. Depending on the use case other implementation could be possible, too.

We need to do some string parsing to get most of the possible variants of the tag values parsed. Mapper: Please do not be to creative ;-)

Afterwards we add the possibility to register style processors into the rendering pipeline. The processor has a simple interface. It gets the list of feature values and the style as defined by the style sheet. It returns either the original style or a (cache) new style instance. Processors are registered by type.

Next step is to implement a simple processor for the type building. The processor checks if the construction year feature is available and the year between 1800 and 2020. In this case it return a red fill style, with the actual brightness depending on the age. Older buildings get darker red.

See the result:

Different coloring of houses based on construction year

Since there are not that much buildings with construction year mapped, let us try something more visible. Different colors depending on the house number been odd even (or not numerical).

Now that looks more obvious :-)

Different coloring of houses based on house number being odd or even

Fine. That was fun. Now back to code to refactor it for a slightly better API...

Location: Horst, Stadtbezirk VII, Essen, Regierungsbezirk Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

One year at the Foundation.. an incredible book series by Isaac Asimov

Posted by Doro8ea on 8 December 2017 in English (English)

Hi all :)

My name is Dorothea. I've been helping the OpenStreetMap Foundation board and some of the Working Groups in the past year, as an Administrative Assistant (one of two independent contractors that the Foundation has - the other one being the accountant). So, for transparency reasons I would like to give you a better idea of what I do and also my view of what being at the Board encompasses - based on my experiences from the previous year.

What I do

Basically I am helping the board (and some of the Working Groups, if there is time and they want to) with administrative tasks, so they can have more time to focus elsewhere. So far I am mainly involved with:

Some non-regular tasks:

  • Administrative support during Local Chapter applications
  • Adding Advisory Board members to the AB mailing list and updating the wiki
  • Providing membership lists


  • Documenting Local Chapter Congresses (2016, 2017)
  • Documenting the Face-to-Face meeting (2016 # on the board wiki)
  • Implementing the new Corporate Membership Payment system on CiviCRM (2016)
  • Running the Election to Board (2017)

Working Group related

Two Working Groups have asked for administrative support from the board

  • Licensing Working Group: Documenting online meetings
  • State of the Map Working Group:
    • SotM2017 - Supporting scholars
    • SotM2018 - (Plan for) Supporting scholars (if there is going to be a scholarship program) and sponsorship

Time allocation

This can vary from month to month, with a cap of 65 hours per month. This was surpassed at least once before State of the Map 2017, as one of the scholars required extra support in order to get his visa (there was no Embassy of Japan in his country).

An overview of the time allocation is supplied monthly to the board. I also have a monthly meeting with the Secretary.

An inside view of the Board's work

From the past year I can say that board members have to do a lot of "ground" work: writing documents, collaborating or providing feedback on documents writen by other board members or Working Groups, liaising with Working Groups, working on getting their ideas approved by other board members and the community. It requires even more energy and time if you become one of the officers (Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary). I think Frederik describes it better than I do in his post. Regarding visionary ideas & tasks, well my experience was that the board does very pragmatic work - the only exception I can think of was a discussion about the future that took place during the Face-to-Face meeting in May. Related to the F2F meetings: All board members are very passionate about OpenStreetMap, even if they have different views on some areas. The F2F meeting in May 2016 gave me the impression that it was easier for board members with different views to find common ground. I am not sure if it was related to non-verbal communication, but I had the impression that these meetings really helped the board members work together.

Working Groups

The people at the Working Groups do some amazing work. And you can make a real difference in the Foundation by participating in one of them. Just find the Working Group you would like to get involved with. If you don't have much time to join a Working Group, perhaps you can help in other ways. As a CWG volunteer I can suggest some related tasks: you can translate your favorite OSMF blog post in your language (perhaps the PokemonGo one, as we have a new influx of mappers?), or send us your favorite OSM-related CC BY photos.

Finally, I would like to nudge people who are not very vocal to share your thoughts on osmf-talk@, talk@ or your diary - particularly if your views are different from the ones already expressed. Throughout the year :)

Some personal info:

I love OpenStreetMap :) I've been mapping for the past ~4 years, mostly outdoors. Currently I am mapping Athens (Greece), so if you ever visit, feel free to send me a message to meet at the local hackerspace.

GPG key ID: 0x1EF42A022575038A

OpenStreetMap Foundation Chairperson's Report for the 2017 Annual General Meeting

Posted by wonderchook on 8 December 2017 in English (English)

When sitting down to write the Chairperson’s Report for this Annual General Meeting of the OpenStreetMap Foundation I have to confess I was having a difficult time. Not because OpenStreetMap hasn’t continued to make great strides over the past year and continue to become further THE free map of the entire world. No, it was because my heart once again was heavy. This year's election has been even more hostile than others. Some of the debate has surrounded around if OpenStreetMap is currently a welcoming place for all and if we ever make people not feel welcome due to the actions of some of our members.

Procrastinating on writing this I was scrolling through Twitter and I happened across a quote from the CEO of Creative Commons, Ryan Merkley.

"Pick big fights with your enemies, not small fights with your friends.”

Stop and think about that for a moment.

When OpenStreetMap started we picked a huge fight with proprietary map provides. For a long time we were just some little upstart, but then they began to take us seriously. Today we continue to be used in more prominent and more important ways all over the world. Just in the past 2 weeks OpenStreetMap became used in Ingress and Pokemon Go, applications of millions of users. New editors are coming in because they can update the map themselves. How exciting is it that all our work continues to be used in more and more ways?

What is our next big fight to continue to be the best free map of the entire world? Let’s all think about those challenges and how we are going to surmount them.

How can we lay aside differences and be welcoming to people who are different from us? It is certainly not from fighting amongst ourselves. That just makes people want to check out, myself included, hence the difficulty in writing this report.

We were not without accomplishments this year though. We’ve increased all types of membership with the OSMF membership standing at almost 900 people now. That is more than we’ve ever had. We’ve increased the Corporate Membership to 24 and created an Advisory Board currently consisting of representatives from Corporate Members and Local Chapters.

Going forward things I’d like the OSMF Board to focus on in the next year include increasing the overall diversity of all our memberships. From encouraging different individuals to become OSMF Members, recruiting different types of corporate members and adding more local chapters. To do that I think we are going to have to show more value as the Foundation. By supporting local chapters more and tech community initiatives. To be able to do this we are going to have to explore ways to have additional funding avenues. I hope we can finish creating a micro-grants program to all groups to apply for this support.

I hope after the election I can be hopeful for the next year. I hope we all can be, let’s come together and stop picking the small fights.

Location: Northeast 1st Street, Winlock, Lewis County, Washington, 98596, United States of America

OSMF Board Elections 2017 – Part 1b of 2

Posted by Nakaner on 8 December 2017 in English (English)

This is part 1b of my analysis of the candidates of 2017 OSMF board elections. Part 1a can be found here.

Please read the notes and explanations at the beginning of part 1a before reading this part!

David Dean

David Dean is Australian citizen, only understands English and is classified by HDYC as Heavy Mapper (very active). He started mapping in 2007 because he found all geocaches which were reachable during lunch break. He has been an active mapper since then although he has only very few active days between 2011 and 2016. He wants to increase the representation of the communities in AU/NZ/South Pacific Region. He works as a scientist on machine learning. His OSM edits are focused on Australia but he also contributes to HOT tasks. David wants to bring OSM to the indigenous communities around the world (he himself has no indigenous roots). They have a different look at the world than people from Europe or North America. In addition, he states that OSM data should take ownership of their OSM data.

He wants to bring the "present and future impact of automation, machine-learning and/or artificial intelligence [on mapping in OSM]" to the board, a topic has been working on for more than ten years. Although it might sound so, he thinks that machine learning is no antithesis to his opinion that local communities should hold ownership on their data. Instead, machine learning applications should support mappers and should be accessible to mappers and not be used in an import-like way.

David has not been active in the OSMF. He organized local OSM community events (see his user diary) in Brisbane between 2008 and 2011. He became inactive in 2011 because he thought that OSM was "finish" in his local area. He continued with mapping in 2016 by tracing buildings and using StreetComplete.

There is no formal OpenStreetMap association in Australia, so the question about his activity there is unnecessary.

David has some open source contributions which have related with OSM. He mentions two pull requests to StreetComplete and a machine learning project for OSM by Development Seed (Mapbox is a spin-off of Development Seed). His Github user name is dbdean.

He has not earned any money with OSM yet. There might be a commercial relation between him and OSM in future because he currently applies for a research grant "related with machine learning and HOT/OSM".

According to several people I talked to, David is unknown in the international English speaking OSM community. He has not participated in any conference yet and there has not been any conference in Australia.

Trademark policy

He thinks that the draft published by the LWG is reasonable. He comments that we should be careful not to put in anything which is perceived as a burden by the organizers of local OSM events.

Term limits

He has not formed a final opinion yet. In principle, he is in favour of such a rule but he remarks that there should be enough candidates and we should not exclude committed board members from re-election just to limit their time on the board.


David supports the currently practised transparent (i.e. public) board meetings. He has not listened to any board meeting yet.

Time to invest in the work at the board

He tries to dedicate one day per week for OSM-related activities.

Strategy of OSMF

He thinks that the do-ocracy culture in OSM and the independence of all those third-party applications around OSM is great. He would like to have some kind of process to integrate some useful applications into

There are no plans by David to change the current strategy of OSMF. But the OSMF is perceived as a separate entity by many community members and this should be changed.

Imports and mechanical edits

David is critical towards imports and mechanical edits and thinks that all imports should be reviewed by local mappers.

Organised and paid editing

It seems that he did not understand this question on the Q&A page or answers evasively. The policy should treat mappers who map for money or a certificate and those who map without any reward.

Share alike

The share alike clause might discourage some potential data users to use OSM data. But another license change is not the effort worth. The active local OSM communities do compensate the disadvantage of the share alike.

OSMF supporting local chapters

He wishes that OSMF supports and encourages local communities to found their own local OSM association.

OSMF paying staff

He refers to the responses by Heather and Joost

Experience in fundraising

David has some experience with fundraising in the academic world and for start-ups but not for non-profit organisations. Membership fees of persons and companies and donation drives should be the main source of income in future.

Heather Leson

Heather is a Canadian citizen currently living in Switzerland and has an OSM account since June 2011. HDYC classifies her as a casual mapper (rarely active). She has only contributed to OSM on 11 days during these six and a half years. Her changesets are small in size. The first three changesets belong to a mapping party in Toronto in summer 2011 when she was "recruited" by Richard Weait. All other changesets are humanitarian mapping. Heather was member of the HOT US Inc. board of directors from sprint 2013 to spring 2017. She was secretary in her first year on the board, then president until spring 2016.

Heather works for International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva which is involved in the Missing Maps project.

Her manifesto is emphasizes "community building" and governance of open source community as her strengths. She has worked for Open Knowledge, Ushahidi and Mozilla. At HOT, she lead the group which drafted the new code of conduct.

After joining the board she wants to start a discussion how the leadership of the OSM project and the working groups of OSMF can become more diverse (regional diversity). She wants to open OSM for people with "diverse skills" who do not want to support OSM as a mapper or developer and wants to build a network of "community managers". Her answer on the Q&A page is more precise. These community managers should be paid and she wants to hire multiple community managers.

She wants to transform the OSMF board of directors from a board of people how actually do stuff to a "strategic" board which decides and let other – probably paid – people do the work. She proudly described this change which already happened to HOT US Inc. in her blog in April.

Asked whether she has a commercial relationship with OSM, she responds that she wants to be part of OSM governance due to the "data policy". It can be assumed that she means the Directed Editing Policy.

Heather participated in three regional OpenStreetMap conferences, the SotM 2016 in Brussels and the HOT Summit in Brussels (just before SotM 2016).

Heather would like to introduce a strong code of conduct with an enforcement.

Two emails by Nicolas Chavent, co-founder of HOT, reveal the dark side of a code of conduct. He writes that Heather filed a code of conduct complaint against him in autumn 2015 (first email). He and Severin Menard, another francophone user who has been HOT US Inc. member for a very long time, had drawn (email by Nicolas, email by Severin) attention on OSMF-Talk mailing list on possibly too high influence of HOT US Inc. on the OSMF and that HOT US Inc. voting members could gain a majority on the OSMF board of directors. He tells that he was informed by the board of HOT US Inc. that a code of conduct complaint had beenfiled against him. In May 2017 another code of conduct complaint was filed against him (second email. A board member had to resign due to a conflict of interest and Mikel Maron wanted to promote the first candidate who did not get a seat in the previous board elections. Nicolas started a discussion on HOT US Inc. voting member mailing list about conflicts of interest in general because the conflict of interest was foreseeable and dealt appropriately by the board. Mikel responded to the mailing list and warned members to participate in this discussion.

Severin casted doubt on Heather's qualification and fundraising experience in an email on 22. November on OSMF-Talk mailing list. Severin served as a board member of HOT US Inc. from spring 2014 to February 2016. He writes that she emphasized her fundraising skills on the board but did not collect any money. Due to "confidentiality" she did not even report about her activity to the other board members. It came to the light when HOT US Inc. ran out of money. Several people, mainly from the (dominating) anglophone wing of HOT US Inc. criticized Severin for being unrespectful and offending. (He wrote that seeking for a seat on OSMF board were shameless with that low OSM activity referring to her small number of changesets)

The claims by Severin and Nicolas have not been denied substantially.

Trademark policy

Her response is meaningless. She has no suggestions for any changes.

Board term limits

She responds evading and asks counter questions which are partially beside the point.


She does not want to commit herself to any opinion.


Heather responds that she dedicate five to ten hours per week to HOT US Inc. She thinks that the board should be a strategic board and the work should be done by the working groups.

Strategy of OSMF

She answers the questions regarding the role of OSMF in community software projects with two short sentences and refers to Joost's response. She would like to know the opinion of the Operations Working Group before committing herself to any opinion.

Her response to the question for her opinion regarding the strategy of OSMF is confusing. She just responds with a bunch of counter questions.

Import and mechanical edits

She has no opinion and thinks that the working groups should deal with this questions.

Organised and paid editing

Her response is ambiguous. She writes that organized or even commercial edits are less valuable. The draft process of the Directed Editing Policy is the main reason why she runs for the board. She points to several articles about the contribution of companies to open source projects but forgets that OSM is no open source project but an open data project.

Note: Heather has a conflict of interest here. On the one hand she wants to influence the process leading to a guideline on directed editing, on the other hand she works for a organisation which does directed editing.

Share alike

Her response is much shorter than the responses of the other candidates. She thanks for their responses, thanks the Licensing Working Group and thinks that ODbL should be better explained.


Mailing lists users should not criticize ideas to make OSM(F) more attractive for funders. Here response is quite long but it misses the main point of the question – the experience in this field.

Desirable sources of income

She writes that she is unable to answer this question and has to learn how it currently works. OSMF needs people outside the board who do fundraising. It is not clear whether these people should be paid but one can assume that they are paid. She thinks that there are already skilled people in the wider network of OSM(F) who would like to help if there were no "drama" and "skilled people to collaborate".

Part 2

Part 2 will interpret and analyse the candidates and their opinions in a non-neutral way and will provide a ballot recommendation.

Aldershot and District Military Lands Byelaws

Posted by jpennycook on 8 December 2017 in English (English)

I've submitted a FOIA request to find out where the byelaws cover, as I've seen areas where (according to new-ish signs) the byelaws still apply even after the land has changed use.


Posted by Lesaandtim on 8 December 2017 in English (English)

I am having a bad night and just messing around online

OSMF Board Elections 2017 – Part 1a of 2

Posted by Nakaner on 7 December 2017 in English (English)

The members of OpenStreetMap Foundation are called to elect board members for two seats on the OSMF Board of Directors this year. In this blog post which consists of two parts the four candidates will be presented. Part 1 summarizes their manifestos, their responses to the questions by community members, criticism and other available and relevant bits of information. Part 2 will evaluate them based on the opinion of a German craft mapper.

Links to the manifestos can be found on the OSM wiki about the election. There is also a talk page where everyone can ask questions to the candidates. In addition, a lot discussions can be read in the public archive of the OSMF-talk mailing list.

How does the election work?

All members of OSMF are eligible to vote if they have been a member of at least 30 days before the AGM which will take place on Saturday. It does not matter if you are a normal member or an associate member. Associate members are not listed by real name on the list of members which everyone has to be given access if required. But only normal members are allowed to vote on changes to the articles of association.

You can vote between 2th December 2017 16:00 UTC and 9th December 2017 16:00 UTC. The general assembly will start on 9th December 2017 16:00 UTC on a special IRC channel. The results of the election will be announced at the end of the meeting.

The election itself uses the Single Transferable Vote system (STV). It is a proportional voting system to vote persons. Every voter creates his/her personal list of desired candidates ordered by perference.

The transfer of the votes happens later during vote count. The vote count consists of several rounds. In each round, it is checked if one or multiple candidates have reached the necessary threshold to get a seat ("quota"). If a candidate gets more votes than necessary, the votes will be transfered to the remaining candidates based on the preference of the elected candidate. If no candidate reaches the quota in a round, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and his/her votes transferred to the other candiates based on the preference of the voters. There are as many rounds as necessary until all free seats are filled.

STV is known to be a relatively fair voting system but there is some space for tactics because votes are transferred to other candidates. If there are four candidates and you want only two of them on the board, you should add only these two to your ballot. Leave the remaining fields empty.

The Wikipedia article about STV contains an example. Richard Weait has published the output of the OpenSTV programme running on the ballots of OSMF board elections 2015.

Notes for the reader

This blog entry uses the term "HOT US Inc." if the organisation HOT US Inc. is meant. In all other cases the term HOT is used. This is not intended to be pejorative but to have a clear distinction between the organisation and the community which is larger.

There are two sections about each candidate. You can find the first section about each candidate in this first part of this two-part blog entry. It summarizes their manifestos, their repsonses to the questions asked by the voters, their activitiy and obvious opinion. Criticism which has been raised against a candidate for the last weeks will be mentioned too. The first part of this two-part blog entry tries to be neutral. The second part will not be neutral. It will describe what the opinion of a long-term contributor who wants to preserve the mappers' freedom (freedom is limited to common decency) and that OSMF guards and accompanies but not governs the project. You will find my recommended ballot in the second part.

Paul Norman

Paul Norman is Canadian and has been contributing to OpenStreetMap since 2010. HDYC describes him as a Great Mapper (active). Paul joined the OSMF board three years ago and stands for reelection. Beyond that, Paul is member of the Data Working Group, the Engineering Working Group, the Licensing Working Group and the Membership Working Group. He is one of the two maintainers of osm2pgsql and one of the many maintainers of OpenStreetMap Carto. He has contributed a lot to the rendering stack and works as a freelancer on that topic. Carto (the company) and Mapquest were his main clients, nowadays he mainly works for Wikimedia Foundation. Paul contributed a lot to cgimap, the fast implementation of parts of the read-only OSM API. You can get an overview on his work on his blog. Paul participated in all State of the Map US conferences since 2012 and State of the Map 2016 and 2017.

His manifesto mentions three big worries. Six of the seven members of the board of directors are involved in OSM-related business. The employer/client of four members sells OSM related services. The whole Conflict of Interest topic has not got enough attention yet. Until now, it was sufficent for a board member to not speak during a discussion in which they had a conflict of interest. He thinks that such discussions should happen on a separate mailing list so that the board member with a conflict of interest is unable to read the discussion.

He is worried that more and more people want to expand governance and want to control mappers. Mappers should still have the freedom to do anything even if it is not in the interest of the board.

Paul writes that he joined the board three years ago as a personal response to the lack of volunteers. He wants the members to be interest in the work of the board.

His manifesto from 2014 when he was elected the first time can be found on the OSM wiki. He campaigned for a transparent board at that time. He thought that board meetings need a moderator to make them more efficient. The lack of volunteers had worried him already at that time. His intent to make the board more transparent was successful. A moderator has not been hired but there is Dorothea who collects items for the board meeting. The number of volunteers has been raised since then but there is still work waiting to be done.

Opinion on the trademark policy

Paul thinks that the LWG has not explained their motivation as much as necessary. He himself is member of the LWG and he will give feedback in the next steps of the process.

Term limits for board members

Paul supports term limits. He does not want that a board member sees himself as unreplaceable as it happened in the past. He doesn't think it is important to introduce such a rule at the moment. He remarks that the right point in time has to be choosen to avoid a board member who is sticking to his/her seat percieving such a proposal as a personal attack.


Paul is in favour of a transparent board. Because he describes the current state in his response, one can assume that it is the transparency he wants to have. Paul would like to have all working groups publishing their meeting minutes (if they have meetings at all).

Imports and mechanical edits

He responds to this questions that he himself has done imports already but he has tidied up other users' imports, too. It is not the job of the board to set up rules. Rules should come from the community and the Data Working Group.

Organised and paid editing

He did not respond to this question.

Share-alike clause of ODbL

Paul is in favour of the share alike clause. He writes that he was a supporter of public domain. However, the fact that companies were in favour of public domain changed his mind. Because he has invested a uncountable number of hours into the license change, he does not want it to happen again.

Strategy of OSMF

Paul supports the current strategy of OSMF not to control mappers.

He did not respond to following questions:

  • extending the membership
  • role of local chapters and their support by OSMF
  • gender-limited events
  • code of conduct
  • OSMF hiring people
  • experience with fundraising
  • desirable distribution of OSMF funding

Joost Schouppe

Joost is a Belgian citizen and speaks Dutch (native), English, French and Spanish. His account was created in 2008 but he uploaded his first changeset in 2012. He became really active in 2013. HDYC classifies him as a Heavy Mapper (highly active). He came to OSM via OsmAnd. He is a sociologist working in data analysis and has no commercial relations to OSM.

He founded OSM Belgium within Open Knowledge Belgium together with Ben Abelshausen and Jorieke Vyncke and was a member of the State of the Map 2016 in Brussels.

Joost is active as a European craftmapper but also maps for HOT projects but is not a HOT US Inc. voting member.

His manifesto mentions four aims. First, he wants the OSMF to support community members better who want to build a local community. He mentions software tools to improve communication between mappers and scholarships for State of the Map. Second, he wants to improve the diversity in OSM. His main focus is on the diversity of language (skills), i.e. to include/attract more contributors who do not understand English.

Third, he aims better connections between the OSM community and researchers who want to investigate how OSM works. Their results might help the community to understand itself better. Currently, decisions are made based on assumptions.

His fourth and last point says that the board should look out for new use cases for OSM which have to potential to bring us more new contributors.

Joost does not describe himself as a software developer but he thinks that he can file useable feature requests and bug reports because he has some knowledge of script languages. His only contribution to the OSMF work was at the State of the Map 2016 in Brussels where he participated in the local team. Instead of being more involved into OSMF, he is involved into the future local chapter in Belgium which currently applies for this status.

He participated in State of the Map 2014 in Buenos Aires and 2016 in Brussels. In addition, he participated in several OSM/GIS conferences in Belgium.

Opinion on the trademark policy

He responds that the criticism expressed in the discussion on the mailing list a few months ago should be addressed.

Term limits for board members

Joost does not express a clear opinion on this issue. He thinks that it is an important issues to be solved and we should not spend to much time for theoretical problems.


Board meetings should be open by default. Some exceptions may occur (e.g. due to privacy). Joost has participated only in one meeting yet.

Time to invest in the work at the board

Joost dedicates already four to eight hours per week to this work for OSM Belgium. He could increase this a little bit but if he gets elected he wants to reduce his activity there to have time for the OSMF.

Imports and mechanical edits

Joost admits that he though in the past that imports are great. In the meantime, he realised that it is quite difficult to get an import right. He himself is involved into two community imports in Belgium. His opinion on imports applies more or less to mechanical edits, too.

Organized and paid edits

On the one hand, Joost sees organized and paid editing as a chance but on the other hand he thinks that it is a threat to our values. He appreciates the work on the drafted policy, but neither praises it nor criticizes it. He comments that it is difficult to organize a good mapathon.

Share alike clause

Joost does not like share alike. He responds that if public administration publishes data to improve OSM, the cannot use the improved OSM data due to the share alike.

Increasing the membership of OSMF

OSMF should have ambitious goals, should support local projects and the development of community tools to be more attractive for normal mappers. In addition, OSMF members should see themselves more as a community of common values and should not argue that much.

Code of conduct

Joost thinks that OSM/OSMF needs a code of conduct but it should be short and simple: "Please try and be kind to each other". He wishes that those who oppose a code of conduct speak out against those who behave not as firendly as expected. Otherwise they would boost the striving of the other side for a code of conduct. He does not want that the process of the creation of a code of conduct widens the gap between the different parts of the community.

OSMF paying staff

He is pride that OSMF has reached that much without paying lots of people but is in favour of paying staff in order that things get done.

Part 1b

Part 1b will focus on David Dean and Heather Leson. It will cover their manifestos, their repsonses to the questions asked by the voters, their activitiy, obvious opinion and the criticism about them. Its translation has not been finished yet.